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Old Town restoration

Discussion in 'Serial Number Search' started by Allan Robertson, May 28, 2021.

  1. Allan Robertson

    Allan Robertson Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I found this old canoe on the burn pile at camp and decided to restore it. I believe it may be an Old Town 17'. The serial number is 20555 17. Any information would be appreciated.


    IMG_2519.jpg IMG_2518.jpg IMG_2517.jpg IMG_2516.jpg
     
    Dave Wermuth likes this.
  2. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Might want to check the serial number again; there may be another "1" in front of the "2"?
     
  3. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Welcome and congratulations, the Old Town canoe with serial number 20555 is a 17 foot long, AA (or top) grade, Charles River model with red Western cedar planking, open mahogany double gunwales, mahogany decks, mahogany thwarts, mahogany seats, mahogany outside finish rails, a keel, outside stems, a floor rack, a painter ring, three spruce paddles, two slat back rests, and other accessories It was built between January and March, 1912. The original exterior paint color was white. It shipped on March 16th, 1912 to Pennsylvania. A scan of this build record can be found below.

    This scan and several hundred thousand more were created with substantial grants from the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (WCHA) and others. A description of the project to preserve these records is available at http://www.wcha.org/ot_records/ if you want more details. I hope that you will donate, join or renew your membership to the WCHA so that services like this can continue. See http://www.wcha.org/about-wcha to learn more about the WCHA and http://www.wcha.org/store/membership to donate or join.

    It is also possible that you could have another number or manufacturer if this description doesn't match your canoe. Feel free to reply here if you have any other questions. Nice find and good luck with the restoration,

    Benson



    20555.jpg
     
  4. OP
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    Allan Robertson

    Allan Robertson Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Oh my word. I was excited to do the restoration and now am doubly so. The description fits the canoe perfectly as the white paint is still visible underneath the green overpaint. Any idea where I can get plans of the back rests you mention ? The seats seems to have old pieces of leather attached, but that seems strange and was probably a repair attempt.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Allan Robertson

    Allan Robertson Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Hi Paul- managed to see numbers quite clearly after some gentle varnish remover and I feel Benson has identified her correctly.
     
  6. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    That's what it sounds like!
     
  7. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    I don't know of any plans but you could probably make something close based on the picture at http://www.wcha.org/forums/index.php?attachments/18928/ from a period catalog. They show up on eBay occasionally. Good luck,

    Benson
     
  8. OP
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    Allan Robertson

    Allan Robertson Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thank you Benson. It is a great reference as I need to make the paddles as well and it gives a good profile.
     
    Craig Johnson likes this.
  9. OP
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    Allan Robertson

    Allan Robertson Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Do I carry on with my restoration stories and pictures here or is there a more appropriate thread ?
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2021
  10. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    It is usually best to keep everything in one place but the choice is yours. Good luck,

    Benson
     
  11. 1905Gerrish

    1905Gerrish LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Allan,
    I might add that the canoe is on the nicer end of Old Towns. Not sure of you wood working abilities but you can purchase replacement parts through Island Falls Canoe Co. I would certainly take advantage of that with a new deck or two.
    Enjoy!
    Zack
     
  12. OP
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    Allan Robertson

    Allan Robertson Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Hi Zack,

    Thanks for the Island Falls heads up. I am reasonably competent in my little woodshop, but were having problems sourcing cedar and mahogany. Some of the outwale ends need to be repaired and I need to replace two broken planks and a rib. I live in a woodlands area in Pennsylvania and we regularly have to take trees down that have reached end of life. We had to take some ash trees down yesterday so I will mill them asap to get green wood to bend the outer stems. Both they and the keel seem to be ash.

    I have been wondering about the restoration approach. The deck are ok. The stern deck seems to have been made from 2 halves and has come undone but its an easy glue job to get them together again. I also have some nice walnut and have been toying with the idea of using that to make new decks. Here is the question though: Is it a significant canoe and should I do my restoration as close to original as possible or do things like walnut decks ?

    There is an article in the spring issue of Wooden Canoe, but I would like input from the collective wisdom of members about this issue.
     
  13. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    My usual answer to a question like this starts with "It's your canoe..." so I would encourage a decision based on what you prefer. It is a nice early canoe as Zack mentioned. However, the estimates at http://www.wcha.org/catalogs/old-town/models.html indicate that about 9435 of them were built between 1905 and 1929 so it probably isn't the only one left. Let us know what you decide.

    Benson
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2021
  14. OP
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    Allan Robertson

    Allan Robertson Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks Benson- your answer does open both options to me and I'll post what I decide once I have done some more paint stripping.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2021
  15. OP
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    Allan Robertson

    Allan Robertson Curious about Wooden Canoes

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